Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2015 ride by the numbers

As always it was a great training season and wonderful ride!  It was a great team this year - small, dedicated, and all friends.  This year's breakdown:

25 total teammates (1 more than 2014)
6 new riders to the Bike MS: Pedal Los Pueblos
19 riders who have done the ride >2 years
10 riders who have done the ride >5 years!

Training season:
0 - number of bike free weekends since June 6 (team wide)
15 - number of riders on our largest training ride (Ride to Placitas)
5 - new rookie riders 
         12 - days of training rides 
         3876 - Miles of training (team wide)

At the MS Ride 2015:
20 - riders Day 1
14 - riders Day 2
13 - riders to completed the Century ride Day 1!
11 - riders to make it to Puye Cliffs on Day 2
2482 miles rode a the MS150 (team wide)
7 top fundraisers

$20,578.60 (and counting) raised by the Penultimates!

$213,968 (and counting) raised to fight MS at the Pedal los Pueblos 2015!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Paired Scotch Dinner 2015

Join us for a fundraiser of a gourmet dinner paired with Scotch hosted by Two Fools on Tuesday, September 22th at 6 pm.  Tickets are $100 and limited to 15.  This fundraiser helps us raise money for the National MS Society as we ride in the 2015 Pedal Los Pueblos Bike MS150.

Here are the details from this years event.

Course One
Organic Beets and Rainbow chard dressed with feta and a raspberry vinegairette
 Served with Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban and Dalwhinnie DE

Course Two
Scallops with a rosted pepper coulis & barley "risotto style"
 Served with glenkinchie DEr and Tillibarndine "Sauterness cask"

Course Three
Bourbon duck breasts with a Scotch whisky demi, boxty frites and mint mushy peas   
Served with Abelour A'bundah on the rocks

Course Four
Guinness Brownie with Glenfiddich 18yr whisky caramel sauce
Served with chilled apple infused whisky

Yum!  Hope you can join us so get your tickets today! In case you are wondering, a portion of your ticket price is tax deductible.  Fantastic!  For tickets email us at penultimatesbike_at_gmail.com!  (substitute @ for _at_ and you got it).

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Weekend's Ride: 8/8 To Placitas and Back Again

We had the best rider turnout of the season for this ride - an amazing 15 riders showed up early for the ride up to Placitas (route here).  Riders today were - Tina, Jeff, Evil Gary, Maneeshika, Matt, Greg, Alba, Ryan, Laura and Eric (returning triumphantly on the orange tandem), John, Stacy, Frank, Captain Awesome, and Captain Snookums.

This ride is can be divided into four parts: a fast flat out to Bernallilo, a long slow hill up to where the sidewalk ends (anyone?), a long fast down hill section, and finally another long fast flat ride back. And aside from the brief stretch where 550 meets I25, relatively quiet and beautiful, especially the ride north from ABQ and the climb into Placitas.  Overall, it was a great ride, a great goup and nice cool weather due to an blissful overcast sky (a rarity here in the high desert).  It was also great to overlap with a Women Riding Well training ride!  We weaved in an out up the long hill to the top where we rallied.

At the first rally point!
As the season continues, it is always great to see our team in action!  Everyone has a great time, and some of the best friends I have have come as a result of miles riding with the Penultimates.  It is always fun to get to know people while riding.  I am pretty sure if it is the lack of pretension that comes with dressing up in spandex and plopping a helmet on the noggin and then working and sweating for hours on end.  That tends to get people to let their guard down.
Clouds?  In ABQ?
One thing that came to mind today especially, was a great scene from that classic film - The Great Muppet Caper.  Check it here.  It reminded me of our team today - especially the end when the whole group rides together.  Sure, maybe it is our team's general nature of contained chaos and good will when riding. Maybe it was long ride induced loopiness.  Maybe it was the orange tandem.  Maybe we all just look like muppets.  In any case, it made me happy!  Go Domo!  
Right at the start - covert captain cam!
Not the Penultimates, but close.

Leaving rally point 1
At the top!
Mr. Miyagi riding in Stacey to the top of the hill.  Another reason why our team is the best!

Captain's Log: The Taos Grand Fondo

Several rides headed north to Taos to participate in the Taos Gran Fondo (route here).  At the urging of Mr. Miyagi (Jeff) we had 12 past, present, and future (?) Penultimates representing - Evil Gary, Greg, Jeff, Calvin, John, Erica, Justin, Daryl, Amber, Ryan, Alba, and myself.  Great to have so many teammates and friends out on a new adventure.  Not sure what the ride was like for everyone else, I only briefly caught up with the main Penultimate pack at the first stop before they headed off again, and then caught up with Calvin at stop 3.  Beyond that, I rode pretty much solo.  So here is my ride report from the Gran Fondo.

Pulling into the ride start early on Saturday morning, I could tell this was a different type of ride. Lots of high end bikes and lean serious riders in complete sponsored kit.  These guys were talking pacing and how to shave minutes off their ride.  My thoughts tended to drift toward "how far to the first rest stop?" and "what kind of food will they have?".  Could the Penultimates even hang?  We were surrounded on all sides by "those spandex guys" that I try to avoid (I always think back to this scene from the classic movie "Breaking Away").  
At rest stop 1 about 22 miles in.  Still smiling
The small cluster of riders (maybe 170ish) all crowded to the front of the starting line.  I started near the back and pretty much rode there most of the day.  The main crush of good bikers disappeared from my view about 4 miles in near the start of the first hill/mountain.  (Seriously, check out the route here - how I ever let Jeff talk me into this I will never know).  A total of 6000'+ of elevation gain in a series of roughly 3 grueling climbs.  The flip side to this?  At least 3 series of thrilling downhills.
The main group of Penultimates heading off.
Riding solo has a certain meditative side to it.  The ride itself was beautiful and it gave me a long 8 hours in the saddle to get some exercise, listen to music and podcasts, contemplate the meaning of the life and universe, and eventually, when exercise induced insanity set in, to talk to and argue with myself regarding the meaning of life and the universe and the merits of embarking on foolish endeavors. After about 50 solo miles in, you have no idea how exciting cows along side the road can be.  Just a chance to yell "COWS" is pretty fun.  
At top of Hollman Pass looking west.
At top of Hollman pass looking at the road winding down the mountain.
The highlights of the ride for me:  

  • Making it to the top of the first mountain pass at 9500' and seeing the long road winding down the mountain and rolling into the valley far below (and then descending that mountain at speeds over 40 mph for the better part of 13 miles).  
  • Seeing the alpaca farm near Mora and giggling uncontrollably (at 50 miles in, things were getting a little weird)
  • Not dying while climbing up the second pass and making it to the top of the climb around mile 66.  There were sections of road that were 10-12%! Your car would hate you if you made it climb that.
  • Cruising through a beautiful high mountain meadows with gorgeous views of miles of wild flowers and heavenly aromas around mile 70.  (See the last picture below).  It may have been my recent brush with death by heart explosion, but it was quite beautiful.  Again, things were a little weird.
  • Being consoled by my wonderful SAG drivers that indeed, I was finished with the hills, and now had a long 15 mile descent to the finish line.  (You guys were the best and kept me supplied with food and water for the last 30 miles).
  • The long epic descent to the ride end through storm clouds and patches of rain.
  • Pulling into the end of the ride and seeing my teammates in the parking lot waiting for me! Seriously, you guys are also the best!
  • Beer and burgers with great teammates later that evening!  A green chili cheese burger and pint of beer never tasted better.
All told I was the last rider in with a total ride time of 8:40.  I was behind the next group of riders by about 20 minutes.  Not so bad!  Considering drafting in a pace line cuts your energy consumption compared to riding solo by about 30%, I am going to consider that I rode 130 miles!  Not quickly mind you, but like they say "slow and steady wins the race".  But no, I definitely didn't win, that is a pretty dumb saying.  I finished though, and that is all that matters!

Very rural roads
At the top of the hill that nearly killed me at mile 66.
The most beautiful stretch of the road of the ride.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Weekend's Ride: 7/25 - Uphill all the way!

I'm not gonna lie - this ride is no fun.  Well, it is only 50% no fun.  The 13 miles of uphill - no fun.  But the 13 miles of down hill?  Very fun!  Today there were 8 heading up the mountain from a leisurely 7 am start time - El Jeffe, Evil Gary, Gregg (!), Matt, Brady, Ryan, John, and Captain Ali.  One rider headed back at the ski area, and all the others made it to the top.  Beyond that I don't have much to say, since I wasn't there.   But I got lots of pictures!
The crew at the top
Matt working hard
A triumphant Ryan
A mid ride photo?
What a view, if only those guys would get out of the way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Weekend's Rides: 7/18 East Mountain Mosey

We converged from all over Albuquerque and met at the Smith's at Central for a beautiful East Mountain ride today (route here).  A long 65 mile ride (depending on your start location) through beautiful scenery and cool weather.  Today we were 14 riders strong - the usual Good Gary, Evil Gary, Captain Awesome, Greg, Matt, Jeff, Craig, Calvin, and Captain Snookums with returning riders Brady and Peggy making their 2015 debut, as well as new riders Ryan, Alba, and Frank.
Being chased by the horde
The main contingent headed out of Albuquerque along old Route 66 on a freshly paved road with generous shoulders and smooth riding (amazing how much you pay attention to road shoulders as a cyclist).  From the Smiths, the next 16 miles is a slow steady climb of over 1800 ft rise.  Not too shabby.  A rally at the country store for some needed food and water replenishment.  To our disappointment the coffee shop was closed.  What? Rely on physical activity to get us functional, and not the magic chemical caffeine?
At the first rally/refueling stop
From there we took the back way over to 277 a tree lined down hill sprint.  My favorite stretch of the ride - cool, wonderful smelling evergreens, picturesque, and FAST!   From there we turn left and hit the infamous rollers, that are just high enough that regardless of how fast you go down, you are back in your lowest gear struggling up the hill on the other side.  These 8 miles go slow, and you wouldn't know on average that you are steadily going downhill.  
At the final rally for the whole team
At this point, we split up, some heading back to the home, other turning back toward ABQ, which left only 7 riders continuing on toward the Triangle.  This 10 mile slog was hard.  It was hot, and the legs were burning.  But we persevered on to the last rally stop at the Triangle where we refreshed with healthy food like salt and vinegar potato chips (well, me anyway).  The last 20 miles was the long descent back into ABQ.  Around noon, the four riders that departed from O'Neill's pulled in tired, but energized by another great team ride!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekend's Rides: 7/11 & 7/12

Saturday's Ride - the Dam Ride!:
Another glorious weekend of riding!  Well, maybe glorious is not the best word. Maybe sweaty? Meditative?  Endurancy?  Is that even a word?  In any case we had 7 riders head out from Nob Hill on one of my favorite rides of the season, the long Jemez Dam ride (route here).  Evil Gary, Tina, Greg, new rider Ryan, John, Maneeshika, and myself cruised north along the diversion channel out through the north valley.
Rolling team shot!
At this point is there the ride becomes beautiful as we wind our way north through green river valley with the always visible Sandias on our right on our way to Bernalillo.  After a very fast ride in a decent pace line we arrived for our first full rally stop.  At this point we caught up with Calvin who was probably just in front of us most of the way.
The spectacular view back toward the city
After some snacks and more water, we headed out on the next leg of the journey through Bernalillo toward the Jemez Dam finishing with a 7 mile uphill toward our next rally stop at the top.  It's a beautiful ride though, lots of breathtaking vistas.  A good rest at the top at the almost halfway point, overlooking the Jemez Dam, which even after all the recent rain did not have any water in it.
At the halfway point
From there we dropped back down and headed toward Rio Rancho.  The contrast to the scenery in the morning was stark - we were now rolling through red desert with sections that if you made a right off the road and headed straight, you probably wouldn't hit anything man made for hundreds of miles.  We then dropped down off the West Mesa and headed through Corralles on our way back to the Bosque trail and home.

All 7 riders rolled into Nob Hill around noon. Not sure if everyone did a lunch or not at the end of the ride, but yours truly needed to head home for toddler wrangling and feeding time.  But another great day in the saddle.

Sunday's Ride: Balloons and Jeff is back!

[Guest contributor - Ali] The counter-clockwise city loop (36 miles) was the planned route.   When Jeff showed up at Casa Scrymgeour still looking a little worse for wear after his bike crash of a few weeks ago, we decided to modify the route to something short and relatively flat - a jaunt up to the Balloon Park (route here).  That was fine by me because [SPOILER ALERT] I just wanted to give my new bike a test drive.  

The weather was beautiful and the scenery spectacular.  Especially once we got up to the park. Taking a little deviation from normal.  We rode down into the park to check out the balloons going up.   

Welcome back to the pack to Jeff.  (Author's note: this may be the only and only time I can pace with Jeff.  Even though he's still recovering, I may have to gloat a bit.)
El Jeffe
Me and my new precious

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekend's Ride: 6/27 - The Start of the Hills

Woke up early in the morning to the sound of rustling trees.  Hmmm....wonder if it will be windy today?  We had 10 riders meet up at O'Neill's at 6 am to start the ride - Evil Gary, Good Gary, Stacy, Greg, Blythe, Maneeshika, Andrea, Bryan and his visiting friend, and myself.  We were doing the modified city loop (route here), which, unlike last weekends ride, had some elevation. The plan was to head east along the south edge of the city to the first rally point at Smiths to pick up new rider Tina.  Calvin left his house in the NE, and was somewhere behind us, intending to catch us at some point.

Ride start - early in the morning!
We began our slow ascent which was complicated by a stiff canyon breeze that would plague us the rest of the day.  We made it to Smiths by 7, and after the rally, we headed north along Tramway to then turn and go further uphill toward the Tram (and what a brutal uphill it is).  While at the top, Calvin finally caught up with us. It was an impressive ride, as all 12 riders made it to the top of the tram (a new Penultimates record).  From this point, we all did the fun 8 mile downhill losing the 1400' of climbing as we raced down toward the valley floor below us.  Always an exhilarating ride.
Triumphant at the top of the Tram!
At this point disaster (minor) struck twice.  Good Gary and Tina had two flat tires along the same stretch of road.  While repairs were being made, we started to break up a bit, as riders headed toward the end of the ride.
Fixin' o' the tire!
We rolled back into Nob Hill at 10 am.  A good ride!  A few new riders (great riding Tina and Andrea!) completed their first Penultimates ride.  Tina survived her first ride and her initiation, as she had her first field tire change and derailleur repair on this ride as well.  Go Domo!

Weekend's Ride: 6/20 - Official 1st Ride!

Hooray!  The first official ride of the season.  We headed out on a relatively flat 35 mile ride (route here) from Nob Hill down past the airport to pick up the Bosque trail circling south and then back north toward the north valley.  From there over to the diversion channel and back to Nob Hill.  Eight riders headed out (Olga, Evil Gary, Maneeshika, Greg, Bryan, Captain Awesome, new rider Frank, and Captain Snookums) and we picked up Calvin along the Bosque trail.
At the Alameda Open Space
All in all a good ride, no surprises and few new faces, and a nice morning in the saddle.  We made it back to the ride start by around 9:30 am.

In the last 10 miles

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Weekend's Ride: 6/13 - A (Fast) Saturday Fun Ride

Our last pre-ride of the season had a few seasoned and experience rider and one brand new rider.  Welcome Matt!  For a fun ride at the start of the season,  it sure was a fast one!  We departed Nob Hill at 7 am, cruising north on the diversion channel to do a quick out and back to the north valley (route here).

The route was fairly flat, so we kept a brisk pace up the diversion channel, over to 2nd street, and then out 313.  We turned around at mile 15, and then headed back.  A short quick ride, average speed 15.9, cruising at around 20 mph heading south with nice tail wind.
A quick recharge at top of diversion channel
We finished the ride cruising up the middle of an empty Central Ave, as traffic was blocked off in advance of the Pride Parade.  Looking forward to the season!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Weekend's Ride: 6/6 - Sunday Fun Day Ride!

Time to get the bike dusted off and lubed up - today we headed out for the official first ride of the 2015 season!  We opted for a short 25 mile ride with a little stop over at Bike in Coffee.  Route here. Five riders headed out from Nob Hill - Captain Snookums, Eric, Laura, Evil Gary, and new rider Maneeshika.  

Enjoying the cool morning we headed out at 8 am for a quick mosey through UNM Campus, north on the diversion channel to Paseo and then west.  For a change up, instead of heading south on the Bosque trail, we turned south on Rio Grande and rolled south until Old Town where we circled back toward Bike in Coffee.
A little food and beverage at the beautiful Bike in Coffee
After some refreshing food and some test rides of some fat tire bikes, we made the last little 5 mile ride back up the hill to the diversion channel and back to Nob Hill finishing around 11 am.  A great start to a new season!

Friday, May 1, 2015

So You Want To Be a Penultimate

So you want to ride the Bike MS! Great! Now you need to decide if you want to ride and train with a fun team that will get you ready to ride by the end of August? In short, do you think you have what it takes to be a Penultimate?

To determine if you have what it takes to be a Penultimate, complete the following survey:
  1. Do you know how to ride a bike? 
  2. Is your skill level represented on the "Continuum of ability" shown below?
From beginner (left) to Lance Armstrong (right) we want you to ride with us!
If you answered yes to both questions one and two then - Congratulations! You have what it takes to be a Penultimate!

In order to ride with the Penultimates, here is what you do to register for the ride. But before we get to that, just remember the ride costs $45 to join and comes with a commitment to raise a minimum of $250.  (But don't worry - it is not that hard!) If you cannot raise the minimum amount, you will be asked to pay the difference before you can participate on the ride.

Still with me?  You want to register?  Here is how:
  1. Go to the Penultimates ride website here.
  2. At the top left of page, click on the text that says "Join Team".
  3. It will bring you to a registration page, and just follow the instructions.
  4. Give yourself a high five - you joined an awesome team!

Training Season 2015

Here is the first draft of the training schedule for the 2015 year. The general plan is that if you ride this long ride schedule plus maybe get a few extra rides in you will be ready for the full MS150 at the end of August.   We will also contemplating doing a short training ride on each Sunday too that will build to ~50 miles by the end of the season, so those that want to ride the short ride can get some team rides in too.  For those of you new to the team, riding is great, but riding with a team is so much more fun!  As always, we will following most of the rides with a team breakfast.

From the 2014 adventure ride to Santa Fe
The tentative schedule (all are on Saturdays unless otherwise noted): All rides will leave from O'Neill's on Central as early as we can (6 am) unless otherwise noted.  There are several riders that are planning on doing the Taos Grand Fondo on August 1st (anyone interested in riding with us please let me know)! 

6/13Light ride 20
6/20Inner City Loop CW36.1
6/27Modified City loop CCW36.7
7/4City Loop CW53
7/11Jemez Dam65
7/18South 14 + rollers65
7/25Crest Assault from Triangle26
Taos Grand Fondo100
8/8Ride to Placitas66
8/15Santa Fe 72.4
8/22Recovery weekend30
8/29The Ride150

Who We Are - 2015 Season

We are The Penultimates – a team of Albuquerque, New Mexico cyclists. Our primary focus is cycling in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “New Mexico Pedal Los Pueblos” Bike MS150, a two-day, 150 mile cycling tour through northern New Mexico. This event raises money for research, education, and support of individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis – including those within our community.  (For a quick primer on MS, check this out). Our team includes several members riding for friends and family with the disease, but we also have two cyclists that live and ride with MS.

The Penultimates formed in 2010 with 5 riders, raising over $7500 for the Bike MS150 event. By 2014 we we have had over 48 different riders join us through the years and raised $xx in 2014 and $xx since our first year the fight against MS.  We’re reaching out to our families, friends, and the community businesses we actively support to help our fundraising reach the next level.  We are organizing a few fundraisers this year, our Fifth Annual Paired Whisky Dinner hosted by Two Fool's Tavern (last years event is here).  These events raise money directly for the MS society, but the proceeds go toward your rider totals, so if you think fundraising will be difficult - we make it easy!

Our team has always been about the joy of cycling, the friendship of teammates, and riding or volunteering for a fantastic cause.  We may not finish first, but we will finish, and have a great time doing it!  We start training in earnest in June, and we will organize two rides every weekend to get you ready for the ride.  The majority of our riders were relatively new to cycling last year, and all of them completed some combination of the 2014 event ranging from 80 miles to the full 150 miles. Whether you are new to cycling, a grizzled veteran, or just looking to volunteer your time for a good cause, this is the team for you!  Go Domo!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

New Jersey Designs!

The new special limited run jersey is designed and ready for pre-order!  We will be ordering these from Primal Wear (the company that makes the official ride jerseys).  Like I said before, these are limited edition, get your order in now or forever regret your decision.  Orders to me by 4/29.

Click on the picture above to zoom in.  In case you can't discern, the trophy says "Not the last".

They will be unisex jersey (Primal's sport cut jersy, sizing guide here).  The minimum order if 15, above that in multiples of 10 (i.e. 25, 35, 45).  If we can get to 15 jerseys, we can do a block of 10 women's jerseys.  The price will be ~$65, and a 15% of the order will come back to our team. 

There is a minimum of 15 required, and right now there are 7 spoken for.  Once the first 15 are ordered, we will need to get to 25 for the next block of orders.  So if you want one, first come first served.  So if you are interested, please email penultimatesbike_at_gmail.com to get yours!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Special 5 year jersey

We are making a special one time run of a 5 year anniversary jersey.  We will be pairing with Primal Wear to make the jersey (the same company that makes the official Bike MS jerseys).  They make a really nice quality jersey and as a bonus, they donate 15% of the costs back to our team!

We need a minimum of 15 jerseys, and they will be ~$60 a piece.  They will be unisex jerseys, the same style and fit of the MS jerseys.

The ideas so far.  Keep in mind these are just style ideas, colors are not fixed, we can rework any details at this point.  We are soliciting ideas for the jersey!  You have an idea, let us know.  For a fun way to generate different color combinations, check out this link here.  (For jersey number 2, imagine that instead of a tiki person, we replace that with a stylized domo)


We are again soliciting local businesses for jersey sponsorships.  We have 5 spots available, the left and right arms, and the 3 pockets.  If you have a local business that you think would like to sponsor us, let us know!